If you happen to be an unemployed exorcist, you could do a lot worse than head towards Mexico. In claims that will not please the Mexican Tourist Board, priests say the country is under attack by Satan, and that more exorcists are needed to fight him. They cite drug-related violence and human sacrifice as evidence for this unusual claim. Father Francisco Bautista, blames many of the problems on the large number of people who have joined the cult of Santa Muerte or Saint Death. The first references to Saint Muerte, occur in the 18th Century, although it exploded after the 1990’s economic disaster. The cult which has over 8 million members in Mexico, encourages the worship of a skull in a wedding dress carrying a scythe. A wide range of folks follow this unprepossessing image, including; military personnel, politicians, police officers, artists, the poor and criminals. This has led to Santa Muerte developing an unfortunate reputation, as already violent criminals seem willing to offer human sacrifices to win her favour. More and more people (many with tattoos of her image) come to visit her main shrine at Tepito, in Mexico City, with thousands of people gathering for the cult's most important ceremony on 31st October. This is not the only site of her worship, and the Mexican military has discovered numerous shrines, temples and even churches of Saint Muerte across the region.
This won’t please the Vatican, as Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, president of the Vatican's Pontifical Council for Culture, condemned the cult, saying; "It's not religion just because it's dressed up like religion; it's a blasphemy against religion".